I am looking for some feedback on folks that have listened to Arcam A28 as well as NAD 356BEE and Cambridge Audio 650. I was able to listen to the CA and NAD yesterday and am looking to see how these sonically compare to the Arcam as I have no one locally who has them.
First off is this setup is going to be used up in my summer cabin. I have an older Rotel RX400 currently that is driving some older ADS400. Quite a nice sound but I am ready to step up. My sources are an older Sony multi CD unit, and XM radio stream. At Home I just converted my Computer audio files from itunes to JRiver and now have the ability to stream this music collection over internet through an HRT+ II DAC. Most files are FLAC or APE.
During yesterday'a audition, we started with the Cambridge Audio and went through three pair of Bookshelf speakers. Starting first with Music Hall, then on to Focal and then finally EPOS. I landed on the EPOS as they sounded the most musical as well as detailed of the three.
We then switched over to the NAD and then ran through my sample songs from Charles Mingus, Bela Fleck and Donald Fagan on CD. I can say that I have heard NAD Home Theater before in a friends home and liked the sound. At home, I have an old McIntosh C11/Mc240 system in my kitchen for easy listening which I truly enjoy. The NAD is sound is similar in that it is full and very warm. Of course there are many differences between the two as well, but these are sonic qualities that stick in my mnd. Going back to the CA, I noticed more detail in the music that in some cases was almost clinical. The Bass was very tight compared to the NAD but less full if that makes any sense. The CA was more forward and presented all the nuances of the recording, good or bad. The NAD was more forgiving of the source and presented a friendlier sound that you could sit and listen too for hours. Though I was not duly impressed with the clarity & detail.
We also listened to a JoLida tube amp in the same price range and then a Creek Audio Evolution 2. As you would imagine, the Jolida was real sweet in the mid range section but lacked shove in the bottom end. The Creek was best of the bunch but out of my price range and a bit overkill based on my intended source inputs. It did present the stereo imaging/separation much better than the other amps and the soundstage was very open and deep. It seemed to present itself somewhere inbetween the NAD and CA in warmth and detail but at a higher level.
I am also looking at the Arcam A28 as I have one of their CD players feeding the MC and really like the way it presents itself. I have no way of testing this Integrated and from what I have read on all the forums, it is a solid performer and seems to fall between the NAD and CA. I am hoping that some of you readers and listeners can comment on the equipment I have listened to and make comparisons with the Arcam.